Pierre Poilievre, the leader of the Official Opposition of Canada, during a campaign event on August 28, 2023

Canada's Prime Minister Hopeful Vows To Kick Out IRGC And 'Regime Thugs'

Tuesday, 08/29/2023

The leader of Canada’s Conservative Party, running to be the next prime minister, has vowed to “kick out” Iran’s Revolutionary Guards if he wins office.

Pierre Poilievre is also the leader of the country’s Official Opposition -- the party possessing the most seats in the House of Commons that is not the governing party. The Conservative Party of Canada, or the Tories, is leading in opinion polls and projections for the upcoming federal election, slated to take place on or before October 20, 2025, to elect members of the House of Commons to the 45th Canadian Parliament.

After a campaign event among Iranian Canadians on Sunday, Poilievre said on his X account, “Inspiring a group of freedom-loving Canadians who want to ban IRGC terrorists and kick regime thugs out of Canada. That is what I will do.”

Echoing the same sentiments, Anna Roberts -- another Conservative Party parliamentarian – said after another campaign event for Poilievre that “IRGC terrorists should not be free to roam our streets and should be kicked out of Canada.” “A common sense Conservative government will bring home safety in our streets,” she added on her X account.

Member of Canada's Parliament Anna Roberts (right)Iran International’s Mahsa Mortazavi during a campaign event for Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre on August 28, 2023

The promise has resonated with a large group of Iranians who have been critical of Canada's Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over his failure to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. There are 73 groups on Canada's terrorist list, but the Revolutionary Guard is not one of them. Ottawa has intensified measures against the regime in recent years, especially following the downing of a civilian airliner by IRGC in 2020 killing dozens of Canadians and the nationwide protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of police.

Pundit Babak Taghvaee said earlier in the week, “Canada is a Paradise for IRGC terrorists, authorities of Iran's Islamic Regime and their supporters.”

On Saturday, a video went viral in which a supporter of the Iranian regime chanted slogans in support of the Islamic Republic and its leaders Ali Khamenei through a megaphone as he passed through a neighborhood with a lot of Iranian shops and businesses.

So far, Canada has sanctioned 170 Iranian individuals and 192 Iranian entities, including key IRGC and members of the regime’s security, intelligence and economic apparatuses. In 2012, Canada designated Iran as a state supporter of terrorism under the State Immunity Act.

In June, Canada's Senate passed a non-binding motion to designate the the Guards as a terror organization. Ratna Omidvar, an independent senator for Ontario who fled Iran in 1981 and has been campaigning fiercely against the IRGC, said at the time that “the crimes of the Islamic regime and the IRGC go beyond the borders of Iran", citing the contribution of the IRGC to Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine, for which Iran has supplied kamikaze drones. In June 2018, the Canadian parliament passed another similar motion, introduced by MP Garnet Genuis, to designate the IRGC but the government did not follow up on the action.

The federal government has referred to the IRGC as a terrorist organization, described its leadership as terrorists, announced measures to make its senior members inadmissible to Canada, and has listed the outfit’s extraterritorial expeditionary division Quds Force as a terrorist entity. However, despite numerous calls from the federal Conservative party, activists and even US lawmakers as well as the families of victims of the Ukrainian flight that was shot down by the IRGC, the government has refused to designate the whole entity as a terrorist entity under the country’s Criminal Code.

The airliner was shot down by two air-defense missiles fired by the IRGC as it took off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. All 176 passengers and crew, including 63 Canadians and 10 from Sweden, as well as 82 Iranian citizens on the plane died in the disaster.

Canadian officials said last year that the designation of the group would be too much of a “blunt instrument” that could punish innocent people in Canada who were conscripted into the IRGC as part of their mandatory military service.

Following years of campaigning by human rights activists and Iranians dissidents, Canada finally announced sanctions last November against the IRGC, permanently banning over 10,000 of its officers and other senior officials from entering Canada. However, the ban on regime officials “applies to those who were senior officials at any time from November 15, 2019, onwards,” practically giving the greenlight to a large number of regime officials to reside in Canada.

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